Community garden taught soon-to-be physician valuable lessons in patient care.
At first, Lauren Martin just wanted fresh tomatoes and lettuce – and a nature-inspired break from her rigorous studies at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she will earn her medical degree in May.
But soon after joining a community garden near campus last year, Martin realized she was learning a valuable lesson in patient care: “It seems like every time I was in the garden, I would strike up a conversation with someone, whether a wealthy community member or a homeless man talking about how much he loved fried green tomatoes. This made me realize that you have to place yourself in a position to be accessible if you want to get to know others.”
“Sometimes as a physician, patients and their loved ones view you as authoritarian and aloof,” Martin said. “This can hinder patients from feeling empowered in their own health care. To help people, you have to meet them where they are physically and mentally, and that involves being accessible.”